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Dinner plans tonight? Good – you’re going to Sprezza for Italian


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Two steps beyond the front door of Sprezza, the casual new Italian restaurant from Julian Barsotti (Nonna, Carbone’s) in Dallas’ Old Parkland neighborhood, I’m already smitten.

Sleek and sexy, done up in bright whites, grey linens, blonde woods, the dining room sings with two walls of big windows that allow the sunshine to spill in. Sprezza, which opened a few days ago, already captures all of the charms of a successful restaurant.

That’s mainly because chefs Scott Lewis and Ryan Ferguson, longtime chefs with Barsotti, know more than a thing or two about Italian comfort food.

“The menu’s focus is Rome and southern Italy,” Lewis told me as he readied a dish of squash blossoms stuffed with mozzarella, anchovies and plum tomatoes, “but that doesn’t mean we’re limited to only southern dishes. We sit down every day and create dishes based on what’s freshet in the market.”

Which means you’ll have to hurry before those squash blossoms go out of season or the spring lamb is no longer perfect for the crispy lamb belly stuffed with more lamb then mounded with shaved asparagus, spring favas and a pool of yogurt.

Pastas are all made in house, including the hard-to-find square-sided noodles called chitarra, which are swirled with littleneck clams and creamy nduja then anointed with toasted bread crumbs. Looking for Roman classics like spaghetti carbonara and bucatini cache e pepe? They’re both on the $17 pasta menu, right beside the red-sauced ravioli and spicy mezzo Amatriciana.

All but one item on the current menu costs less than $20. Nearly every bottle on the one-page southern Italian wine list tops out at $59.

About two dozen seats overlooking the open kitchen or the cocktail bar are open seating, so don’t be dissuaded if the reservation book is full.

4010 Maple Avenue, Dallas; 972-807-9388.

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